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PETITION NO. 663 - South Norwalk Electric and Water (SNEW) petition for a declaratory ruling that no Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need is required for the proposed re-powering of an existing SNEW Generating Station located at One State Street, Norwalk, Connecticut

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Connecticut

Siting

Council

October 7, 2004

Opinion

On February 27, 2004, pursuant to General Statutes § 16-50k and section 16-50j-39 of the Regulation of the Connecticut State Agencies, South Norwalk Electric and Water (SNEW), petitioned the Connecticut Siting Council (Council) for a declaratory ruling that the proposed re-powering of the existing SNEW facility would not have a substantial adverse environmental effect and that no Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need would be required. SNEW proposes to construct a 50MW fast response power facility off of State Street in Norwalk. The reuse of this existing generating site is consistent with Public Act 98-28, An Act Concerning Electric Restructuring.

The existing SNEW facility, now inactive, consists of five slow speed reciprocating engines which would be replaced by three new dual fuel generator sets. Each generator would fire natural gas as the primary fuel with low sulfur distillate oil as an alternate fuel.

The general visual character of the site and vicinity is defined by existing industrial and utility structures. Five existing metal stacks, each approximately 98 feet in height, would be removed and replaced by three new stacks each approximately 130 feet in height. The framework surrounding the three stacks would be painted light blue or light grey to match the sky. The stacks were originally planned to be enclosed, but the enclosure was removed from the design for aesthetic purposes.

Southwestern Connecticut continues to experience significant electric reliability problems, and transmission constraints in the area result in substantial costs to all Connecticut electric consumers. ISO-New England submitted an Emergency Capability Request For Proposals in December 2003, and this project is SNEW’s response to that request. The addition of 50MW of fast response power in this portion of the state would improve system reliability by decreasing the likelihood of the loss of load.

The Council believes this facility is necessary and that it can be developed and operated safely without substantial risk to the public. The proximity of residential development to the SNEW site raises concerns for maintaining the quality of life of the nearby residents, including compliance with State noise regulations, and public safety. Therefore, we will seek to control both construction and operation noise and to control dust resulting from demolition and construction activities through the implementation of a comprehensive Development and Management Plan.

The SNEW Re-powering Project would not exceed the major source thresholds for air emissions and would not be subject to the Prevention of Significant Deterioration review. The project’s NOx emissions would be subject to Lowest Achievable Emission Rate (LAER) and emission offset requirements. The project would comply with all ambient air quality standards and Hazardous Air Pollutants requirements. The construction and operation of in-state clean-burning, efficient modern electric facilities such as the SNEW Re-powering project will displace older, more polluting electric generating facilities both in and out of state, resulting in both cleaner air and enhanced reliability of electric service.

The standard that the Council must employ in deciding this petition is whether the siting of the proposed project would have a substantial adverse environmental effect. Such a standard is subjective, requiring the Council to carefully consider the protection of both the environment and the public. In terms of siting, this project would not have a substantial adverse environmental effect. The three generators and associated equipment would be constructed and operated on an existing "brownfield" electric generating site, in use as such for a century. Minimal levels of ecological disturbance, noise impacts and air pollution are expected from this facility. Output from the proposed facility would help to provide necessary generation capacity to Connecticut and Norwalk residents. Hence the Council finds, consistent with Public Act 98-28, that the siting of the proposed new facility at the existing SNEW facility in Norwalk would not have a substantial adverse environmental effect and therefore no Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need is required.

To ensure that construction and operations of this project is undertaken as proposed we will order SNEW to submit a comprehensive Development and Management Plan prior to the commencement of construction.